September 06, 2005

Hurricane Katrina resources page from WILL 

Hurricane Katrina, August 28, 2005We put together a modest web page with a few announcements and links to resources related to the Katrina disaster, and you can find it here. PBS and NPR programs and web sites, community events around East Central Illinois, and ways you can donate and help...it's a growing mess, just like the areas affected most directly by Hurricane Katrina. If you have information we should add to this page, please leave a comment or email the WILL webmaster...hey, that's me!

September 02, 2005

"There is a more than adequate law enforcement presence in New Orleans." 

I was trained as a journalism to be skeptical about public statements by government officials. I try to maintain healthy skepticism rather than let myself descend into caustic cynicism. But statements like the one above, but Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, add to the challenge. Chertoff's statement came amid other similar assertions we might politely call spin if we were in a forgiving mood, during a tense interview with Robert Siegal on last night's All Things Considered. Does Chertoff think we don't watch live TV reports showing the ongoing disaster in Hurricane Katrina's wake? Should we think everything's fine simply because he says so? NPR's reporter John Burnett was there at the New Orleans convention center, describing the continuing horrors of people by the thousands without food and water with no help in sight. Chertoff said help is there on the ground. Hmmm, what to believe? BTW, here's the report by NPR's John Burnett, providing a slightly different view.

September 01, 2005

A hurricane of media 

Anyone watch much of the TV coverage of Hurricane Katrina? Of course you probably couldn't help but watch, and the images of disaster and suffering are agonizing. Plus, this is an important event for all of us for many reasons, and we need to understand what happened as citizens of this nation and the world. The night it hit, I ended up spending a lot of time online, where I could get more in-depth news, video, first-hand reports, perspective, and breadth, and as a bonus, avoid the commercials, constant branding, and self-congratulatory tone of the cable TV news channels. More and more it seems the web is the better place to get a news signal instead of media noise. That said, there's still much value in traditional TV coverage. PBS has a few special programs you might want to catch:  -  The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer will continue to provide ongoing coverage and analysis of the crisis resulting from the hurricane and floods. -  On Friday, September 2, Washington Week will include a summary of the disaster and the events as they played out this past week along the Gulf Coast and the response here in Washington, D.C. -  On Friday, September 2, NOW will cover the events along the gulf coast, including an update of the 2002 Daniel Zwerdling story on barrier island destruction and danger to New Orleans.  NOW plans to stay on the story of the hurricane's aftermath for the month of September. -  On Friday, September 16, NOW will stay with their hour-long townhall format but refocus the topic on the hurricane's aftermath.  They will get as close to the disaster area as possible and will concentrate on why rapid response failed, the disease threat and the ethical issues of looting and disorder that has followed this disaster.  We will postpone the social security hour until were able to focus our attention differently.   -  NOVA will completely update a segment on the danger to New Orleans from hurricanes (seen in the first "scienceNOW" program) for inclusion in the next "scienceNOW" (currently scheduled for October 18).   -  Sesame Street is rushing a re-broadcast of the five hurricane episodes (Big Birds nest is blown away) for air week of September 12. More to come...

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